Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has stood over its current beef pricing and has confirmed that it will be in attendance at the Beef Forum taking place later today (Wednesday, October 3).

MII senior director Cormac Healy commented ahead of the forum, defending current beef pricing in the current “challenging market environment”.

He also reiterated his attendance at today’s meeting.

“MII has, in challenging periods in the past, never failed to respond to invitations from ministers for agriculture past and present to engage with the department and industry stakeholders on issues of strategic importance and merit to the beef sector in Ireland – and would again do so on this occasion,” he said.

While noting farmer frustration with current issues, he said that there are many strategic issues facing the sector and both industry and producer organisations share common ground on approaches to key issues.

These include: Brexit; CAP reform; climate change; and, in particular, in a joint opposition to the beef aspects of a trade deal between the EU and Mercosur.

“From our perspective the Beef Forum provides a suitable arena for the cattle and beef sector stakeholders to discuss the many challenges impinging on our sector, allowing us to work collaboratively to develop common approaches where possible, while also remaining free to disagree where appropriate.

“It is within this spirit that MII will attend today’s meeting” he said.

Recent criticism

Healy – who could not be contacted by AgriLand in recent weeks regarding price cuts – went on to say that “recent criticism of cattle prices does not fairly reflect the strong price paid throughout the year, with Irish cattle price running at 107% of EU average price year-to-date”.

“Nor does it reflect the challenging market environment at play since mid-summer across northern Europe.

“Year-to-date price paid for Irish cattle remains ahead of last year and only in the last two weeks have current prices dropped below the corresponding period last year.

This situation prevails against a background of an additional 45,000 – 50,000 cattle processed this year compared to 2017, he said.

This higher volume coincides with an already well-supplied EU market caused by higher-than-normal culling rates due to drought earlier in the year.

An increase in import volumes into the EU of some 14%, primarily from competitively-priced beef from Brazil and Argentina, was also highlighted.